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Diageo distillery to go carbon neutral by 2025

Johnnie Walker owner Diageo has committed to converting its distillery in Quebec, Canada, to 100% electric power in four years.

Diageo distillery in Quebec
The distillery is based in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec

Diageo’s Valleyfield distillery, based in the Canadian province of Quebec, will aim to become carbon neutral by 2025 after the company received CAD$45.8 million (US$38.8m) in funding.

The donation was granted by the governments of Quebec and Canada, along with public utility Hydro-Québec, to support the electrical conversion of the Diageo Valleyfield manufacturing plant.

François Legault, head of the Quebec government, said: “Diageo is going to be an industry leader in the green economy thanks to Quebec’s clean energy.

“This is a great way to promote Quebec’s green energy. It’s also a way to ensure the distillery’s long-term prosperity in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. It’s a winning project for Quebec and a winning project for the planet.”

The sustainable plan builds upon Diageo’s Society 2030: Spirit of Progress plan, which is committed to reaching zero net carbon emissions by 2030.

The project represents an investment of CAD$94m in the company’s facilities in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec.

The announcement was made by Legault and Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer at Diageo, at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow this week.

‘Important milestone’

At the conference, Andrew said: “Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for our North American operations and our global carbon footprint. We are very grateful for this partnership with the Quebec government, which allows us to make significant progress in creating a more sustainable world.”

The conversion of Valleyfield Distillery to electric power will eliminate consumption of approximately 21,000,000 cubic metres of natural gas and 1,500 litres of heavy fuel oil.

According to the National Resources Canada department agency, this is equal to the annual reduction of nearly 40,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec, or taking 11,000 cars off the road for a year.

Diageo’s brands produced in Quebec will now be listed as ‘green’ spirits domestically and abroad.

Sophie Brochu, president and chief executive officer at Hydro-Québec, added: “The energy transition will be achieved largely through more efficient use of existing resources. We are very proud to participate in the electric conversion of the Diageo facilities, and to contribute to the implementation of energy efficiency measures.

“This project is a concrete example of changes we need to keep making in the future — using our clean energy to electrify as many economic activities as possible.”

In September, Diageo opened its first carbon neutral whiskey distillery in Kentucky, one of the largest of its kind in North America.

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